Dear The Sookmyung Times(SMT)
I am a freshman at Sookmyung Women’s University (SMU). Whenever I hand in an assignment, I face the problem of what to do. I think that I write some forms of report very well, but my grades are always poorer than I expected. Also, when I submit my work, I think that other students in my class are better than me. Especially their assignment covers! Compared to mine, they look like books; I just write the subject, my ID number, my major and name on the cover. Help me, SMT! How can I get an ‘A+’ for my assignments?
There are two ways to evaluate your work in a course: assignments and exam(s.) Usually, the percentage of grades given to assignments is smaller than that of exams, but there are many students who feel difficulty when writing reports. Most of your fellow students’ opinions are, “I tried my best to write it, but the score is stricter than my effort.” You might feel the same way. But did you do your best? That is, did you write your assignment depending on your own thinking or books and journals, not by relying on Internet searches? Probably only a few students might answer ‘Yes’. This is also the common opinion among professors at SMU. What do your judges, your professors, think about your assignments? SMT asked their opinions in detail.
Sihan Choi, Professor in the Department of Korean Language & Literature
Most students have two main problems with their assignments. Firstly, there are so many students who plagiarize other people’s opinions (in the books or other publications) through Internet research, and they copy these without any footnotes or quotations. Although these actions are clearly plagiarism, they hand in their work as if it is their own creative thinking. Secondly, the writing in many reports is unsuitable and superficial. When I read students’ assignments, I find that there are many “non-sentences.” I think the reason why they do this is that they don’t think about the subject of their assignment seriously.
Im Hye-gyoung, Professor in the Department of French Language & Literature
Although it is a problem depending on the characteristic of the individual course, maybe the common problem is plagiarism. In my lecture, Understanding of French Movies, I provided students with descriptions of French movies, and later I found common views among their own reviews. I think that they must know that the professors are veterans in their fields of study. Also students have to throw away the thought that ‘Well, whatever I hand in will be okay.’ If students do not keep this problem in mind, they may experience more difficulties than any other students when they study abroad.
A+ Is Located Very Near to You!
As you have read, the most common problems of students are plagiarism and lacking their own opinions in their writing. If you simply stop relying on Internet searches for writing your assignments, you can resolve the first problem. Now, how can you express your opinion well? The solution is within our school. There is no Sookmyungian who doesn’t know about SMU’s cultural class, ‘Writing and Reading.’ This lecture is designed for freshmen at SMU, teaches them the skills needed for writing academic papers.
One professor at the Sookmyung Communication Development Center said, “The purpose of this lecture is to give each student the skills to express their own opinion well. Actually, it is hard to expect students to change dramatically, because this is only a one-semester course. So if students want to learn more about writing skill, it is a good idea to take a consulting course in the Sookmyung Communication Development Center.” The professor continued, “If a student wants to write her assignment well, it is important that she understands the core subject the paper’s topic first. The best way to understand the subject is to think about it seriously by reading books and other publications.”
The professor indicated some of the standards for written assignments:
1. Do students understand the point of their subject?
Unexpectedly, there are many students who do not understand the point or relevance of their subject. Before you write your report, you should look for data on the subject in newspapers and books.
2. Do students refer to expert data when writing their papers?
If you maintain this standard, you could not depend on Internet Research, because a lot of information on Internet is not proven. When you write a report, you have to refer to expert data like books or other publications.
3. Does their writing contain a lot of their own thinking about the subject?
It is difficult to improve your opinion about many topics. If you want to improve your thinking mechanism, I recommend that you read newspapers and books on a daily basis.
A report is an intensive short thesis about one among many fields of study. It is your self-portrait; also it is your philosophy of many current events. If you want to get an A+ for your written assignments, SMT recommends that you try to make it a verbalization of your own thoughts. That may be your own, sole, proud essay.